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Tuesday, 18 July, 2000, 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK
Stage 16 roadwatch
More hard climbing at the head of the race
Live coverage of day 16 in the Tour de France - the final mountain stage over 196km from Corchevel to Morzine.

Latest news first, click refresh for updates and scroll down for earlier action (all times BST).

1607 Virenque wins the stage amid chaotic scenes in Morzine.

Ullrich is 24 seconds down and leads Heras who is 27 back.

Escartin next at 1'09, then Beloki and Herve at 1'11.

Armstrong comes in at 2'01, having lost 1'37 to Ullrich.

1605 Heras falls - too many risks - it's Virenque's stage. The crowd at the finish roars as Heras has to change his bike.

1602 The descent is a thriller - and Ullrich somehow is keeping pace with the lead pair, who are taking amazing risks themselves.

1558 Virenque and Heras are still working together on the descent, and Ullrich is losing time to the leaders.

But how many minutes can the German recapture from Armstrong?

1555 Armstrong is 1'40 adrift of the German challenger, and has been caught by a number of riders including Botero.

1553 Virenque and Herve clear the summit. Ullrich follows and changes his bike.

  Col de Joux Plane, hors categorie
1. Virenque, 2. Heras
3. Ullrich at 28 secs
4. Beloki, 5. Herve, 6. Escartin at 1'05
Armstrong group at 2'07

1550 The leaders are 24 seconds ahead of Ullrich, and 1'30 clear of Armstrong, with 2km to go on the climb and a 12km descent to follow.

1545 Virenque catches Heras, who appeared to have waited for him. Ullrich is pursuing hard and Armstrong appears to be holding the gap to the leaders at least.

1543 Armstrong has now lost 1'11 on Heras, and almost 45 seconds to Ullrich.

1540 Time check: Heras ahead of Virenque by 29 seconds, Ullrich just behind the Frenchman. Armstrong 41 seconds down, and now caught by the recovering Escartin.

Beloki and Herve also come back to the American, and all three riders pass him and drop him.

1539 Virenque leaves Ullrich behind as the pair both pass Kivilev.

1536 Armstrong is finally being dropped as Ullrich and Virenque go odd and chase Virenque.

1535 Heras takes the lead, passing Trentin on the climb. The Kelme rider has a 29 second lead over Ullrich, Armstring and Virenque.

1534 Armstrong, Ullrich and Virenque overtake Kivilev.

1532 Kivilev is passed by Heras.

1527 Ullrich fights his way back to Armstrong and Virenque.

1526 Heras attacks - with Kivilev and Trentin still ahead.

1525 Ullrich drops away as Armstrong, Virenque and Heras charge away.

1524 Botero and Escartin have been dropped. So have Beloki and Herve.

1522 There just nine riders remaining with Armstrong - his two team-mates, Virenque, Escartin, Ullrich, Heras, Beloki and Herve. Moreau has been dropped.

1520 Pantani is in difficulty as the main pack starts the climb.

1518 The leaders are on the Joux Plane, and have split almost immediately.

Trentin, and then Kivilev surge ahead, leaving Roux.

1511 The gap is up to two minutes with 27km remaining. Telekom are chasing hard at the head of the peloton.

1502 The lead trio take the sprint in Taninges, in the same order as the climb just a few kilometres before.

With 34km to go there is now a flat stretch before the Joux Plane, and the clouds are hanging menacingly over the mountains ahead.

1459 Herve drops back into the peloton just before the summit.

  Col de Chatillon, 3rd cat
1. Rous, 2. Kivilev, 3. Trentin,
4. Botero leads main pack at 54 seconds
The main bunch goes over the top a minute down on the leading trio.

1454 The lead trio have built a 46 second lead over Armstrong's group, with Herve 30 seconds back.

1451 Pascal Herve is on the attack yet again.

1449 Trentin is up with the lead pair. The trio have a 25 second lead over the break with 43km - including the harsh Col de Joux Plane - remaining.

1445 A French Bonjour rider attacks. It is Didier Rous.

Andre Kiviliev (Kaz, AG2R) bridges the gap across to Rous, followed by a chase from Gudio Trentin (Ita, Vini Caldirola).

1444 The bunch is back together at the start of the short third category climb of the Col de Chatillon.

Telekom and US Postal riders get on the front to try to stop any further attacks.

1441 There are now seven riders at the head of the race, but Armstrong's group are themselves just 10 seconds behind and a complete regroupment looks inevitable.

1438 A number of riders are trying to bridge the gap on the descent. Christophe Moreau (Fra, Festina) is the first to manage it and joins the leading trio.

Virenque, Botero and Oxtoa are also chancing their arms with a rapid chase down the hill, while Armstrong's group have dramatically closed the gap.

1427 Pantani is leading his two breakaway companions down the Columbiere.

1421

  Col de la Columbiere, 1st cat
1. Pantani, 2. Escartin, 3. Herve
4. Virenque, 5. Botero, 6. Otxoa etc at 55 seconds
Pantani is first over the summit again, with Virenque leading the peloton less than a minute behind.

1417 Nicolas Jalabert (Fra, ONCE) abandons and joins team-mate Marco Serrano in withdrawing during this stage.

The Spanish team now have just four riders left in the team.

David Plaza (Spa, Festina) has also pulled out during this day's racing.

1410 The lead group are now 1'40 ahead of Armstrong's group.

1357 Pantani changes his bike - the reason is unclear. He catches Escartin and Herve on the foothills of the Columbiere. The gap grows again to 1'20.

1355 The bunch follows the break through the feeding zone at Le Grand Bornand in the valley.

Next is the first category Col de la Columbiere. The gap is now 55 seconds.

1341 Pantani leads the breakaway over the top of the climb.

When the bunch arrives Otxoa and Virenque touch elbows in a lively sprint for the mountain points. The Frenchman is not impressed with the Spaniard......

  Col des Aravais, 2nd cat
1. Pantani, 2. Escartin, 3. Herve
4. Virenque, 5. Otxoa, 6. Botero, etc. at 1'12
1332 Pascal-Llorente is now back in the Armstrong group, which numbers 33 riders, although Millar loses touch a few minutes later.

1320 Pascal-Llorente has been dropped by the other three leaders.

Telekom and US Postal are chasing hard and keeping the gap at just over a minute.

1315 The breakaway are now on the slopes of the second-category Col des Aravais.

1312 The trio have caught Pantani on the descent - and will surely now group together to heap more pressure on Armstrong and co on the next climb.

1306 A chance to catch breath on the rapid descent off the Col de Saises! Pantani won the stage into Morzine three years ago, and is clearly making a move to climb the general classiciation this time.

It follows a war of words between the Italian and Armstrong over the Tour's rest day.

After discussing Pantani's merits, the American described Jan Ullrich as "a real gentlemen, unlike the last person we were talking about".

1259 Pantani scales the summit, clear of the chasing trio and ahead of the main pack of 28, including Armstrong, Virenque, Millar and Ullrich.

  Col de Saises, 1st cat
1. Pantani
2. Escartin, 3. Pascal-Llorente, 4. Herve at 31 secs
5. Virenque, 6. Botero. 7. Otxoa, 8. Millar, 9. Hamilton, 10. Livingston, 11. Armstrong etc, at 1'11
1256 Pantani is approaching the summit of the Col de Saises after 80km of racing.

A three-man group of Herve, Pascal-Llorente and Fernando Escartin (Spa, Kelme) is 32 seconds down, the peloton containing 28 riders is now more than a minute back.

1250 Armstrong's group is now a minute down on Pantani. Britain's David Millar (Cofidis) appears to be helping in an Anglo-American allicance by leading the chase.

1242 Pantani leaves Pascal-Llorente and heads off on his own. He is 20 seconds clear of the Virenque group and 30 clear of Armstrong's group, which is led by faithful US domestiques Kevin Livingston and Tyler Hamilton.

The American leader is under severe pressure from most of the men directly behind him on generall classification.

1239 Jan Ullrich (Ger, Telekom) heaps pressure on yellow jersey Lance Armstrong (US, US Postal) by launching his own atack on the main pack in an attempt to bridge the gap to the leaders.

1235 A chase group has formed - Richard Virenque and Pascal Herve (both Fra, Polti), Santiago Botero, Roberto Heras (Spa, Kelme) and Dariusz Baranowski (Pol, Benesto).

1230 Pantani joins Commessio and Pascal-Llorente, 40 seconds ahead of the peloton. Commesso is soon dropped.

1224 The first climb of the day and Marco Pantani attacks the bunch to chase Commesso and Pascal-Llorente.

Jose Maria Jimenez and a Kelme rider try to follow the bald Italian, but then let him go and join the two leaders alone.

1201 The first significant attack comes from Salvatore Commesso (Ita, Saeco) and Javier Pascal-Llorente (Spa, Kelme).

1155 Despite his attack failing McEwan still wins the first sprint of the day from green jersey Erik Zabel (Ger, Telekom) and Francois Simon (Fra, Bonjour).

Moments later Aussie McEwan is dropped by the peloton, while Simon breaks and is then captured.

1136 A first attack of the day from Robbie McEwan (Aus, Farm Frites) at 37km is short-lived.

1054 An early puncture for Abraham Olano (Spa, ONCE)< French team-mate Laurent Jalabert helps him back into the main pack.

1047 Marco Serrano (Spa, ONCE) abandons the race after being involved in the earlier on the descent from Courcheval. It is feared that he broke his collarbone.

1044 There is a fall for Marco Pantani (Ita, Mercatone) and Santiago Botero (Col, Kelme), winners of three of the mountain stages between them. Both remount and continue.

1030 The stage starts with a minute's silence for the 12-year-old boy who died on Sunday, as a result of an accident involving the Tour's publicity cavalcade last Friday.

The riders stopped at the start and removed helmets and hats as a mark of respect for the young supporter. Tour safety procedures have been improved after the incident.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Lance Armstrong
"It was a silly mistake and I paid the price"

In DepthIN DEPTH
Tour de France
Final analysis of the world's top cycle race
See also:

15 Jul 00 | Tour de France
15 Jul 00 | Tour de France
15 Jul 00 | Photo Galleries
16 Jul 00 | Tour de France
16 Jul 00 | Europe
16 Jul 00 | Tour de France
16 Jul 00 | Tour de France
16 Jul 00 | Tour de France
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